REVIEW: Doritos Late Night Sizzlin’ Cheeseburger

It’s possible there are no new chip flavors left — just re-imagined, re-launched, and rekindled love for previously executed flavor blends. Regardless, I was curious enough to see what the latest Doritos had in store for us with its Late Night Sizzlin’ Cheeseburger.

There have been burger-inspired Doritos in the past, including a Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger flavor. Recent similar flavors have only been available in the UK, like the Whopper collaboration with Doritos last year. After finding a small but steady fan contingency hyped about their return, I was ready to try these out.

They look pretty promising straight out of the bag, covered in a thin but visible layer of orange seasoning and with the distinct aroma of white onion, pickle, and burger char. It smelled like getting into a car driven by someone who recently picked up a fast food cheeseburger, and the car still smells like that burger, but it’s definitely gone now. Shoot.

The flavor is very characteristic of a burger. The strongest flavors are onion, pickle, char flavor, and the occasional hit of cheese or sweetness that makes me think of ketchup. I’ve experienced this flavor combination on other brands and chip types, and it took me a while to decide if the Doritos corn chip is the best-paired base. Ultimately, the crunchy texture adds to the experience, and it is certainly not the worst burger chip I’ve ever eaten. My only qualm is that my mouth tastes like burger burps after one serving. The aftertaste is STRONG. I had to brush my teeth 30 minutes after consuming it because I wanted the old burger to taste out. If you’re into that, maybe it’s a benefit!

Overall, this is a flavor execution classic that Doritos didn’t mess with much. They taste like a cheeseburger, deliver on that false char aftertaste, and ultimately had me craving an actual burger. I wouldn’t repurchase them, but it looks like a lot of you are thrilled about their return. Oh, one other note, the last ingredient on the ingredient line is Beef Fat. I didn’t expect that, and I don’t fully understand what it “adds” to the chip at such a low level, but there’s that.

Purchased Price: $4.49 (on sale)
Size: 9 oz bag
Purchased at: Mariano’s (Kroger)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (About 11 chips) 150 Calories, 7 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Space Dunk Oreo Cookies

Ground Control to Major Tom.
Ground Control to Major Tom.
Eat Space Dunk Oreos; one has a helmet pattern on.

Oreo’s newest cookie launch seems to combine all its most recent innovation tricks into one cookie — two layers of colorful marshmallow flavored crème filling, popping candy, unique cookie designs, and a partnership sweepstakes that could send you to (near) space with Space Perspective. One thing that was not clarified is whether you are given Space Dunk Oreo to eat on the Space Perspective ship while you gaze out upon the perimeter of space, a trip that, if you chose to purchase it outright, would cost you $125,000 (not including cookies).

Right out of the package, my immediate response was, “Oooooooh, pretty.” The chosen galactic colors are vibrant pink and bright blue. These colors against the dark traditional chocolate cookie fit the galaxy motif on the pack and are a well-rounded design choice.

It doesn’t taste like the pink and blue crème have individual flavors, but both are distinctly different from the traditional Oreo filling. It’s more like marshmallow or even cotton candy. This is especially true as the included popping candy melts and explodes in your mouth. I don’t know why popping and exploding things further convince me of the “design fit” to the galaxy theme because, theoretically, you’d very much NOT want things to explode or pop in space, but it’s undeniably effective.

I’ve tasted the Trolls Oreo and Firework Oreo, which both had chocolate cookies and popping candy, but I find the marshmallow crème flavor to be a better fit with these candies.

The final element at play is the five space-themed designs imprinted on the cookies. I’m not sure if this is the case with everyone’s Oreo packages, but mine seemed to be in a distinct order. Maybe I’m a nerd, but this makes me envision a little rotating wheel of space patterns printing out cookies in a predetermined design order a la Willy Wonka, and that just sparked delight. I like the astronaut helmet one the most.

Overall, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Space Dunk Oreo. They aren’t just gimmicky tricks thrown together, but instead really seem to have been thought out and designed to fit a theme, which they do very well. The flavor, color, and texture offer enough of a different experience from the traditional Oreo that the seasonal option upcharge is nearly negligible.

Purchased Price: $4.00 (on sale)
Size: 10.7 oz. package
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 cookies) 140 Calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Goldfish Crisps

There have been so many flavors of Goldfish Crackers that it becomes difficult to pinpoint at any one time exactly how many are actively on the market. But there are only THREE types of Goldfish CRISPS, and that’s easier to figure out because they’re brand new, baby!

When I think of Goldfish crackers, my mind immediately goes to the classic cheddar flavor, the little orange smiley guys that are delightfully cheesy. I decided to try the cheddar flavor Goldfish Crisps first in homage. The Goldfish Crisps’ main difference from classic Goldfish Crackers is their texture. These are very light and puffy and certainly live up to the crisp namesake. They have a slightly sweet, very mild base and leave it to the seasoning powder to do the heavy lifting on flavor. The cheddar seasoning powder is pretty tasty and just salty enough to keep you coming back for return bites.

I was surprised, however, at the lack of cheesy flavor in the base until I looked it up and realized that Original Goldfish Crackers are also devoid of cheese. My bad, Pepperidge Farm! The Goldfish Crisp base seems much closer to the Original Goldfish Cracker base in flavor, but it is potato-based and contains whey. The crispy texture reminds me of Quest Protein chips, but these are much better and not as mouth drying.

My fingers dove into the schools of Salt & Vinegar and Sour Cream & Onion Goldfish Crisps next. I’ll admit I’m not an enormous salt and vinegar fan, but these seemed particularly off base. Because the base crisp has a slight sweetness, they just tasted like salt & vinegar club crackers. The vinegar flavor was way too strong, and I found it easy to stop eating them. Another thing I noticed was that all Goldfish crisps are devoid of the characteristic Goldfish Cracker “smile.” Not to worry, though, I wasn’t smiling at the salt & vinegar flavor, so I didn’t care that they weren’t smiling back.

The sour cream & onion variety, on the other hand, was downright addictive. The seasoning blend on these Goldfish Crisps was super delicious, like any classic sour cream & onion chip. They were generously seasoned (an extreme case shown below!), which added to the enjoyment. They reminded me of homemade ranch-seasoned oyster crackers. In fact, ranch would be a great line extension if anyone at Big Pepperidge happens to be reading.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed by the new Goldfish Crisps. If you assume Goldfish’s base snack business is largely aimed at children, these seem designed for an older consumer. They mean business with their strong flavor and fishy faces devoid of emotion. I’d certainly try the sour cream & onion again, in particular.

Purchased Price: $3.99 each
Size: 6.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Jewel Osco
Rating: Cheddar (7 out of 10), Salt & Vinegar (5 out of 10), Sour Cream & Onion (9 out of 10)
Nutrition Facts: Per Serving (44 pieces) Cheddar 140 Calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Salt & Vinegar – 140 Calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sour Cream & Onion – 140 Calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Queso Cheese Potato Chips

Do you like a “Groundhog Day” movie premise as much as I do? You know, the movies centered around a character who relives the same day over and over again. You’d think once they’d done the Bill Murray classic, it would be ironic and un-original to make it again. Yet, we still have fantastic films like “Edge of Tomorrow” (the action version), “Happy Death Day” (the thriller version), “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things” (the romcom version), and of course “Palm Springs” (the Andy Samberg version). All of these movies are pretty great in their own unique twist of a classic theme. In much the same way, I come to you today with a review of Flamin’ Hot Queso Cheese Ruffles. Sure, you’ve probably had a really similar chip, but now these also exist.

They have the same distinct color found on other Flamin’ Hot line extensions. The flavor is overwhelmingly cheesy and balanced very well with the heat from the pepper. In fact, I’d almost say these don’t quite live up to the spiciness of other Flamin’ Hot varieties launched recently, but I think that’s a good thing in this case. It makes them much more addictive.

I was curious how these differed from the Flamin’ Hot Cheddar Sour Cream Ruffles (the LeBron bag) currently on shelves and could only dig up one or two minor discrepancies. First, the ingredient lines between this and the LeBron version are nearly identical. Apart from a few items being in different sequential order, the Queso chips have a few extra spices (onion and garlic powder) and no sour cream or butter. If you’re thinking that difference doesn’t sound enormous, I agree with you. These chips taste A LOT like the standard Flamin’ Hot Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles, but these are much more cheese-forward and the heat packs less of a punch.

The second difference is that these have the lil’ smiley guy in the corner, designating them as a Sabritas item (also owned by Frito-Lay and largely distributed in Mexico). I don’t think this necessarily makes a difference except to possibly justify why such a similar chip could launch with a different balance of cheese and heat.

I also decided to try the original Queso Ruffles against the Flamin’ Hot Queso Ruffles. The OG lacks heat and red color but has the same strong savory cheese flavor. I think heat lovers might be slightly let down by the heat offered in the Flamin’ Hot Queso version, but I’ll double down and say again that I prefer this balance. It makes the chips far more enjoyable overall.

If I had to live one day repeatedly, I wouldn’t be upset if it included these chips. I’m docking a point for lack of originality since the formulas look to be nearly a replicate of a chip that already exists, but I can’t deny how tasty these are. Did I already say that? Oh well, déjà vu.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (13 chips) 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Pillsbury Banana Bread Batter

You’ve been there. It’s Saturday, and you want banana bread, but all of your bananas are green! Rats! There’s no way to rapid-ripen them, so what do you do?! Boy oh Pillsbury doughboy, does General Mills have a solution for you with its new ready-to-bake Banana Bread Batter.

Okay, maybe that scenario isn’t very realistic, but thankfully this banana bread batter is. It’s also kind of hilarious. I don’t know why a bladder bag full of bread batter is so funny, except to say that a tube of goo will always garner a giggle. The product is pretty straightforward. You simply spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray, squeeze the batter goo into the pan, try not to eat all the goo instantly because, for some inexplicable reason, this batter tastes better than most cookie doughs you’ve tried, and then bake.

The batter needs a little assistance getting into all the corners of the pan, so you need to smooth it out a bit. No big deal, and so far, this is the most effort I’ve put into the entire process aside from cutting off the bag’s tip. The first time I made this, I ignored the step in the instructions to let the batter sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Instead, I squeezed it out immediately after removing it from the fridge and baked it for the 60-minute recommended bake time.

When I did this, I baked the joy straight out of it. It was way overdone, had developed a thick bottom crust, was pretty dry, and lacked flavor. I was super disappointed, but it turned out the way it did because of user error. It’s reasonable to expect that a loaf of bread that needs to be baked for an hour should be checked on at around 50 minutes or so. Also, the batter tasted so good that I had to try again. I have to give you all an honest review experience!

I picked up another tube of goo to redeem myself! This time I let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes before squeezing the batter into my greased loaf pan. I also decided to add mini chocolate chips because, well, morsels. I reduced the baking time to 50 minutes and checked the loaf with a toothpick for doneness. This second attempt was an enormous success. This banana bread has a natural banana flavor that is not overpowering. The texture is fluffy, almost like a cake. I would say, as compared to homemade banana bread, most homemade recipes are far more moist and sticky dense. But for how quick and easy this is (assuming you don’t have to do it twice because I did that for you), it’s pretty good! It scratches an itch!

Overall I’d say Pillsbury’s Banana Bread Batter is unique and absurdly convenient for a consumer need that I’m not entirely certain exists. But it sticks the landing with a fluffy, tasty cake bread ending. I would suggest adding mix-ins like chocolate chips, walnuts, or maybe even another real banana to jazz it up a little.

Purchased Price: $6.49
Size: 30 oz log (makes 1 loaf)
Purchased at: Mariano’s (Kroger)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/15 of a loaf) 190 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar (including 14 grams of added sugar), and 2 grams of protein.